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Entries in Heartbeats (5)

Saturday
May 18 2019

Xavier Dolan

by Samantha Craggs

It's been 10 years since Xavier Dolan,age 20,burst out of the gate at the Cannes Film Festival with his first ever movie,I Killed My Mother.It was a raw,imperfect effort.The deeply autobiographical narrative rambled at times.A plethora of shots framed the subject in the middle lower third of the screen,leaving space for blank white walls and reams of extraneous information.But it was a first-hand look at being a queer teenager fighting with his parents in the new millennium.For taste-makers at Cannes,it was more than enough.His movie showed in the Director's Fortnight,and Dolan,a former Québecois child actor who'd never even directed a short film,became the arthouse's youngest rock star.

We've watched him learn the craft in two-hour intervals ever since.He works at a frantic clip,so he's made eight movies in 10 years.The now 30 year old filmmaker will premiere that eighth featureMatthias et Maximeat Cannes on May 22nd.Love or hate his offerings so far,one thing is guaranteed – this one will look nothing likeI Killed My Mother.Let's do a ranking of his movies so far,after the jump...

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Friday
May 23 2014

Posterized: Xavier Dolan

Mommy,which spurred spirited conversation at Cannes (and really wowed our woman on the ground,Diana) and could walk away with a prize this weekend (as literally all of director Xavier Dolan's previous features have but forTom at the Farm,which went the Venice/Toronto route instead).

Xavier Dolan at the photocall for "Mommy"at Cannes,2014

I remain perplexed that an international star with this much critical cachet and this many easily marketable elements (young,hot,queer) hasn't found a deep pocketed patron in the world of US distribution,in the way many auteurs do.Think of how Miramax used to favor certain directors or the way Sony Pictures Classics really invested in building the Pedro Almodovar brand.I keep hoping a younger edgier disribution company (my dream: A24) will fall in love with him because with the right promotion and cultivation,he'd have a devout following Stateside.For now,if only here,he'll have to make do with critics and really hard-working cinephiles who attend festivals regularly.

The Canadian wunderkind just turned 25 andMommyis his fifth feature in five years.If he keeps up this pace he could have a filmography that's impossible to be a completist about later on.Get in early and sample the goods.They're yummy.Distributors might not have made it easy for you wherever you live,but at least Netflix has been kind.How many of his previous features have you seen?

I Killed My Mother(2009)
Dolan's debut won much acclaim at Cannes including two prizes and became Canada's Oscar submission (it was not nominated).Much film festival chatter and an international release in major cities around the world,EXCEPT THE US,kept the buzz going for another year.Supposedly it hit US theaters this past March (yes,in 2013,four years after taking international cinephilia by storm) but I want proof that it actually happened because it seems like every year since 2009 we were told it was opening.[Available on Netflix Instant Watch]

Heartbeats / Imaginary Lovers(2010)
This unrequited love triangle,available on Netflix Instant Watch,won the "Regards Jeunes"at Cannes and was released in the US briefly in 2011 under its new boring title.[Nathaniel's Review at Towleroad]

Laurence Anyways
(2012)
This trans epic,Netflix to the rescue again,ran nearly 3 hours,and was the first that Dolan didn't star in himself.It took another two prizes at Cannes ("Queer Palm"and "Best Actress") and a brief US release in 2013.[Glenn's love for this movie is huge.]

Tom at the Farm
(2013)
This thriller about a young man (Dolan) attending his lover's funeral in the country,only to discover that the lover was closeted and the family virulently homophobic,is still awaiting US release.[Nathaniel's TIFF Review]

HOW MANY HAVE YOU SEEN?

Sunday
Dec 11 2011

20:11 Just Go With The Eagle.Never Say Never!

Year in Review Fun...Much more to come!Herewith the 20th minute and 11th second of the movies of 2011in chronological order of US release date.It's like flipping channels for snapshots of the film year!For those who like a mnemonic challenge,I've written the film titles in invisible ink below each screencap (you can highlight to see them).Would any of these tiny glimpses make you want to stop channel surfing and watch?

january|february|march|april

Part 2: February


- I even stole some once.
- I know."

THE ROBBERVery intense movie.They're supposedly going to remake it with Andrew Garfield rumored for the title character.

-We passed that on the way up.
-I know."

Hotels make people naughty.They do!This is a still from ...THE OTHER WOMAN...which I did not like at all.


He's a blue?!Not a blue!!!"

GNOMEO & JULIET   ......which is hoping forAPP亚博娱乐 andoriginal songnominations.

Seven more snapshots after the jump.How many have you seen?

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Tuesday
Jul 05 2011

Halfway Honors.Best of 2011 Thus Far

This year seems to be off to a slow start but here's what I'd choose as the best of the year thus far.I've excluded films that are still waiting for their proper release like Andrew Haigh's finely tuned miniature gay dramaWeekend(which has been collecting festival trophies and which I loved) and Paddy Considine's discomfiting abuse dramaTyrannosaurwhich I did not love but which boasts impressive acting.

TOP TEN PICTURES (alpha order)
The Arbor,Beginners,Bridesmaids,Certified Copy,Jane Eyre,Midnight in Paris,Poetry,Rango,The Tree of LifeandUncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives.You can see a complete list of what I've seenhere.

[Notable films that I did plan to see but will have to catch on DVD include:Hanna,The HousemaidandWin Win]

DIRECTOR
Clio Barnard - THE ARBOR
Lee Chang-dong - POETRY
Abbas Kiarostami -CERTIFIED COPY
Terrence Malick -THE TREE OF LIFE
Mike Mills -BEGINNERS

notes: I gave Barnard the slight edge over Apichatpong Weerathesakul mostly because I far prefer "Joe's"earlier effortTropical MaladytoBoonmee.But not without some hesitation.I appreciated the bold experimentation ofThe Arbor,a documentary/narrative hybrid about the life and work of playwright and screenwriter Andrea Dunbar (Rita,Sue and Bob,Too).I just wish the film had been tighter and less relentless in its last 45 minutes.It had already done so much surgical socioeconomic surveillance damage by that point that rather than feeling devastating it started to feel exhausting.But it's definitely worth a look.

ACTRESS
Juliette Binoche - CERTIFIED COPY
Yun Jeong-Hie -POETRY
Mia Wasikowska - JANE EYRE
Kristen Wiig - BRIDESMAIDS
Michelle Williams -MEEKS CUTOFF

actors and the supporting crop and even a few technicals if you just...

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Friday
Feb 25 2011

Review: Heartbeats

"The only truth is love beyond reason"goes the quote from French poet Alfred de Musset that opens Xavier Dolan's moody dreamy French Canadian filmHeartbeats.That sounds beautiful in theory,sure,but living it is messier.Immediately the film cuts to a funny frank series of talking head interviews from people who have been unlucky in love.One woman compares herself to Glenn Close inFatal Attractionand describes panicking at her computer,waiting for emails that never come.

If somebody died every time I hit refresh,there'd be nobody left alive.

Poetic idealized notions of love clashing with humiliating darkly comic reality?It's a pretty apt way to introduce and describe this arguably slight but beautiful film...

Read the rest at Towleroad

Heartbeatsis currently available in select theaters from IFC and On Demand.I'll have an interview with one of the actors shortly after Oscar weekend wraps up.2011 Index of Movies.This will undoubtedly pick up soon.